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Top Sports Industry Brands + Decorated Athletes Headline SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day

Date: 2/7/12

Football Great Herschel Walker & WNBA Star Tamika Catchings Lead the Way
Capitol Hill Effort on March 7th To Lobby for Importance of Investing in Physical Activity
Sports Industry's Only Event That Increases Participation in Sports & Fitness Activities

SILVER SPRING, MD – February 7, 2012 – More than 100 leaders from organizations in the sports and fitness industries – from Franklin to Nike to Rawlings to Under Armour – will join together on March 7th to meet with the U.S. Congress and request support for federal legislation to help this country win its own ‘Battle of the Bulge.’  The event is SGMA’s 13th Annual National Health Through Fitness Day in Washington, D.C. – ‘SGMA’s Capitol Hill Campaign to Get America Moving.’

On National Health Through Fitness Day, a delegation of well known athletes, sporting goods and fitness manufacturers, sports retailers, concerned citizens, physical educators and association leaders will meet with members of Congress to encourage passage of two legislative initiatives to help all Americans become more physically fit:

(1)  The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Bill funds a competitive grant program to give school districts and community based organizations resources to provide students with quality, innovative physical education.  With access to PEP grants, school districts are able to cultivate future generations of active Americans through innovative physical education programs.

(2)  The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, would promote improved health through increased physical activity by making it more affordable to engage in sports, fitness and recreation activities -- through the use of tax incentives.  The PHIT legislation, if passed, would make physical health a cultural value by providing financial incentives that encourage greater participation in sports and fitness activities.

In a nutshell, National Health Through Fitness Day is SGMA’s signature event that promotes policies that will increase participation in sports and fitness activities to improve health and active lifestyles.

To date, the celebrity delegation includes 1982 Heisman Trophy winner/former U.S. Olympian Herschel Walker; Hall of Fame golfer Gary Player; former Wimbledon & U.S. Open tennis champ Stan Smith; NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers); former Major League Baseball pitcher Tommy John;  ex-NHL star/current ice hockey commentator Jeremy Roenick; former U.S. Open/British Open golf champion Johnny Miller; WNBA star Tamika Catchings; Team USA softball star Monica Abbott; U.S. Olympic middle distance runner Jenny Simpson; LPGA superstar Stacy Lewis; former NFL players Ken Harvey, John Booty, and Aaron Beasley, among others.

“In the budget-cutting environment on Capitol Hill, our goal is to save physical education in schools with PEP and encourage active lifestyles through the PHIT Bill,” said Bill Sells, SGMA’s vice president of government relations.  “When we have these face-to-face Congressional meetings, it’s essential that our industry leaders communicate the magnitude of the adverse impact of sedentary living and fully emphasize the positive economic outcomes of healthier, more active lifestyles.”

“This event is a key event on the calendar for our industry,” said SGMA Chairman Larry Franklin (President; Franklin Sports; Stoughton, MA).  “It is our opportunity to meet with Congress to explain the immense benefits that funding for PEP and the passage of PHIT will mean to this country.”

For the PEP Bill, this consortium will ask Congress to continue funding the program in FY 2013.  PEP is the only Federal funding dedicated to physical education. SGMA will schedule meetings with more than 100 U.S. Senators and Representatives on March 7.  In FY 2001, the PEP Bill was approved for $5 million.  The success of PEP has led to a steady increase in funding.  In FY 2002, Congress allotted $50 million; $60 million in FY 2003; $70 million in FY 2004; $73 million in FY 2005; $73 million in FY 2006; $73 million in FY 2007; $75.7 million in FY 2008; $78 million in FY 2009; $79 million in FY 2010; $79 million in FY 2011; and $79 million in FY 2012.  To date, nearly $800 million in PEP grants have been distributed across the country by the U.S. Department of Education. 

The PHIT Act would change current federal tax law to allow for the deduction or use of pre-tax dollars to cover expenses related to sports, fitness and other physical activities. Americans could invest up to $2,000 annually to reimburse physical activity costs using PHIT-designated contributions to existing pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Medical Savings Accounts (MSA), and other medical reimbursement arrangements.  PHIT would only expand the eligible expenses.  It would not increase contribution limits to these accounts.  Once an individual or family reaches the 7.5% threshold on income spent for qualified medical expenses, they could deduct physical activity expenses directly.

On the evening of Tuesday, March 6th, SGMA will host the National Health Through Fitness Day Award Reception in the U.S Capitol Visitors Center (S212/210). At the event, SGMA will recognize two individuals for their support of physical activity policies in America.  Former Washington Redskins player Ken Harvey and former Philadelphia Eagles player John Booty will be presented with SGMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition of their lifelong commitment to promoting physical education and active lifestyles in America.”  SGMA also plans to recognize Congressmen Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC) with its Congressional Health & Fitness Award for their “promotion of healthy and active lifestyles in America.”

To keep up to date on what's happening with SGMA and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day, follow us on Twitter @TheSGMA.  We’ll be using the hash tag #nhtf12 for anything NHTF Day related.  You are also encouraged and invited to be a 'fan' of National Health Through Fitness Day on our Facebook page to let your friends know that you support a physically active lifestyle.
In addition to the congressional meetings, there will be a physical education demonstration on March 7th, which will be held on Capitol Hill (room 2218 Rayburn House Office Building) from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.  It will feature students and teachers from District of Columbia public schools.  It will be coordinated by Konami.  The PEP Demo will demonstrate the innovative, quality PE provided via PEP.

The entire sports and fitness industry is invited to attend. A limited number of rooms are available at the host hotel, The Madison (1177 15th Street, NW; Washington, D.C. 20005; 800.424.8577).  The room block deadline for rooms at The Madison is February 10th.

There are more than 40 companies and organizations which are sponsors of National Health Through Fitness Day.  This year’s Special Event Sponsors are Active Network, United States Tennis Association, Konami, Sport Supply Group, and SGMA’s Legal Task Force.  Supporting sponsors include Accusplit, AHIP, BSN Sports, Callaway, Easton, Everlast Climbing, The First Tee, Flaghouse, Franklin Sports, Gatorade, General Mills, Get Golf Ready in Five Days, Good Sports, Gopher Sport, Head Penn, HOPSports, Mizuno, NSGA, New Balance, Nike, ‘nplay, PE4life, Play Core, Polar, Precor, Prince, Rawlings Sporting Goods, Reebok, Rollerblade, Spark, Speed Stacks, Sportime, Suunto, Tennis Industry Association, Titleist, Under Armour, US Games, and Wilson Sporting Goods.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership and product promotion.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA public policy platform, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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